Bolzano’s life coincides almost exactly with what has been called the Age of Revolutions. Born in 1781, he lived through the revolution from above launched by Joseph II in 1780, the French Revolution, the triumphs and defeats of Napoleon, the conservative reaction embodied in the Metternich System, the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the July revolution of 1830, and finally the uprisings of 1848, the last year of his life. It was a time of exaggerations, of great hopes and fears, sudden reversals, and crushing disappointments, a time of vast enthusiasms and general confusion, as unprecedented forces were let loose upon a world almost completely unprepared for them. The world of letters was not spared, as authors strove to make their voices count in an ever more crowded and noisy public forum. Novelty was everywhere sought, overreach and passion common on all sides....
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